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The Gift of Life

Indonesian Supreme Court Commutes Scott Rush Death Sentence to Life Behind Bars.

(5/14/2011) 25-year-old Australian Scott Rush is reported to be in high spirits after the Indonesian Supreme Court spared his life by removing the sentence of death and replacing it with a life sentence.

In granting the change in sentence, the Court voted 2 -1 that the Rush, 19-years-of-age at the time of his crime, is genuinely remorseful for his acts and that that he played a minor role in the  conspiracy of the "Bali 9" to smuggle 8 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Sobering, however, is the stark fact that a "life sentence" in Indonesia is precisely that, condemning the young Australia to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Now, with the threat of death before a firing squad row removed, Scott is free to seek Presidential clemency from each succeeding Indonesian chief executive who will hold that office during the course of his prison term. Indonesia's current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has publicly pledged he will not personally grant mercy to anyone convicted of narcotic offenses.

High level talks are reportedly underway that could allow Australians who have served at least half their prison sentence in Indonesia the chance to return home to Australia to serve out the remainder of their imprisonment. Whether such a deal would apply to those, like Scott, under a life sentence is unclear.

The two remaining members of the "Bali Nine" still residing on death row in Bali's Kerobokan Prison - Andrew Chan(27) and Myuran Sukumaran (30) who are awaiting  the Supreme Court's decision on their request for a  commutation from a death sentence to a life prison sentence.

With the exception of Chan and Sukumaran under a sentences of death, and Renae Lawrence serving a 20-year sentence, the remaining 6-members of the "Bali Nine" are all serving life sentences.